Upper Murray at War

As in other parts of Australia, the First World War thrust the Upper Murray into the war effort, taking many young local men away to Europe.

Families left behind did what they could to support their sons and their country, the Cudgewa Valley saw many young men enlisting in the Armed Services with some families seeing more than one son enlist.

One Cudgewa Valley family saw five sons off to fight the war in Europe, clearly illustrating the strong link the residents in this community had with their British heritage.

Within a year of their departure, many Upper Murray soldiers had made the ultimate sacrifice.

To show support to the brave local men away at war, in August 1917 an Avenue of Honour, was established with the initial trees being planted. The Cudgewa Avenue of Honour, comprises of around 270 planes and elm trees, along the entire length of the Main Street. These trees are now mature and create a striking picture in Autumn.

The end of the war issued a new era of development in the Upper Murray.

Soldier resettlement blocks were allotted to returned soldiers, who were given the chance to become farmers. The dairy industry provided hope to many although, in general, the soldier settlement scheme was not successful due to farming inexperience as well as the small size and poor quality of many of these farm blocks.

The Second World War saw the exodus of more young people from the Upper Murray and times again proved tough as money grew scarce and drought conditions and rabbit savaged the countryside. Despite these hardships the community remained strong as many community events were organised in order to support the war effort. When the war ended, more soldier settlement blocks were created in the Upper Murray and returning soldiers came back to work on the farms.

Today, the Upper Murray has seen many of its young men and women join the Armed Services and participate in conflicts in both World Wars, the Boer, Korean War, Vietnam and more recent times, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Upper Murray Remembers the War exhibit at the  Man From Snowy River Museum pays tribute to these young men through memorabilia and stories from the Upper Murray families who's loved one seen the battles of the wars; from the Boer War through to Vietnam.

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